Friday 15 June 2012

Sex & Samosas

Sex & Samosas by Jasmine Aziz is a five-star hilarious romp about a grown woman's sexual awakening against the backdrop of a cultural clash between Western liberal and South Asia cultures. Be sure to read an excerpt of the first chapter that will be found below at the bottom of the cover at The Book End. — Carl Dow, editor and publisher, True North Perspective.


Drone killings, cyber attacks, war on whistleblowers

Obama thinks he is above the law

If the President does it, that makes it legal

By Peter Van Buren
TomDispatch.com via AlterNet.org
 
The United States rains Hellfire missiles down on its enemies, with the president alone sitting in judgment of who will live and who will die by his hand
 
12 June 2012 — White is black and down is up. Leaks that favor the president are shoveled out regardless of national security, while national security is twisted to pummel leaks that do not favor him. Watching their boss, bureaucrats act on their own, freelancing the punishment of whistleblowers, knowing their retaliatory actions will be condoned. The United States rains Hellfire missiles down on its enemies, with the president alone sitting in judgment of who will live and who will die by his hand.
 
The issue of whether the White House leaked information to support the president’s reelection while crushing whistleblower leaks it disfavors shouldn’t be seen as just another O’Reilly v. Maddow sporting event. What lies at the nexus of Obama’s targeted drone killings, his self-serving leaks, and his aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers is a president who believes himself above the law, and seems convinced that he alone has a preternatural ability to determine right from wrong. (More)
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'The "risk of military adventurism" would be no worse under a Republican president than under Barack Obama'

Roberto Unger, Obama's former Harvard law professor 

says the president 'must be defeated' to revive democracy

Be sure to play the video to hear the alarming message

By Bonnie Kavoussi
The Huffington Post
 
16 June 2012 — One of President Barack Obama's former professors appears to have turned against him, according to a recent YouTube video.

"President Obama must be defeated in the coming election," Roberto Unger, a longtime professor at Harvard Law School who taught Obama, said in a video posted on May 22. "He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States."

Unger said that Obama must lose the election in order for "the voice of democratic prophecy to speak once again in American life." (More)

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11 years in prison for posting on an atheist website

'... the value at stake not freedom of speech, but freedom of conscience'

All over the world, people skeptical of religion face profound mistreatment
 
By Austin Dacey
Religion Dispatches
 
12 June 2012 — It is hard to imagine a less hateful person than Alexander Aan. Mild and soft-spoken, the 30-year-old Indonesian bureaucrat recently told Al Jazeera, in an interview conducted just outside his jail cell, “As a democracy and part of the global community, because we are not isolated from the outside world, I think we should be more tolerant. Nobody hurts anyone simply because he has different ideas.” And yet Aan is facing up to 11 years in prison for blasphemy and inciting religious hatred because he voiced his skepticism about Islam on Facebook.
 
In the West, the paradigms of blasphemy are fair-haired Danish cartoonists drawing the Prophet and Richard Dawkins badmouthing Yahweh. The public debate is about how to balance freedom of speech with respect for religious belief. But Alexander Aan’s case, playing out in the world’s most populous Muslim country, represents a much different global reality. Here the value at stake is not just freedom of speech, but freedom of conscience. The real contest is not between atheists and believers, but between those who affirm the equality of all persons of conscience and those who deny it. (More)
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American lay catholics are rising against

perceived cruelty, hypocrisy of their church

By Valerie Tarico
AlteNet.org
 
8 Ugly Sins of the Catholic Church
If pedophile payouts weren’t enough to convince you the Catholic leadership is often anything but moral, take a look at some of their other sins
 
11 June 2012 — Did the Catholic Bishops wince last week when their leader, anti-contraception Cardinal Timothy Dolan, was exposed for paying pedophiles to disappear? One can only hope. After all, these are men who claim to speak for God. They have direct access to the White House, where they regularly weigh in on issues ranging from military policy to bioethics, and they expect us all to listen — not because of relevant expertise or elected standing, but because of their moral authority. Ahem. (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. 7, No. 20 (322)
Friday 15 June 2012
 
Editor's Notes
 
 
"F— you for the police. F— you for the journalist," said the mother of a 16-year-old daughter arrested today as a pimping and human trafficking suspect.
 
The mother was speaking with Jessica Smith of Metro News.
 
Jessica Smith wrote in the Weekend edition of Ottawa Metro June 15-17, 2012: "Police allege the woman's 17-year-old daughter (age later clarified by police to 16 —Editor) and two 15-year-old accomplices forced three other teen girls into prostitution. The two 15-year-olds are in custody facing numerous serious charges including assault and human trafficking."
 
Police among others have expressed shock and dismay that the two girls in custody would practice pimping and human trafficking.
 
That's because we were all brought up to believe that little girls were made up of "sugar and spice, and everything nice." (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.
 
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Alex Binkley is a foremost political and economic analyst, whose website is www.alexbinkley.com. 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

The right recipe for food safety

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

15 June 2012 —  After years of talking about it, the government has introduced legislation to streamline and update Canada’s food safety system.

The changes are not only important to protecting consumers from unsafe products; they could also help the vital food industry expand exports. That would mean more business for our farmers and more jobs in the food industry. To do that, we need to make sure we get the legislation and the ensuing regulations right.

Since the 2011 election, most government bills have been frog-marched through Parliament under specious claims about the need to improve the economy.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has promised the Safe Foods for Canadians Act will get a full airing in both the Senate and the Commons. Let’s hope he sticks to his position. (More)
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Great Bear Forest to be massive carbon offset project

How eight coastal First Nations will harvest money from trees without saws
 
By Christopher Pollen
thetyee.ca
 
11 June 2012 — In a young man's eyes the logging that laid waste to the coastal forest was akin to a military invasion.
 
Cameron Hill was barely a teenager when loggers descended onto Gitga'at First Nation territory in the early '80s, clear-cutting vast stands of old-growth cedar in the midst of what is now known internationally as the Great Bear rainforest.

"We still have huge blocks of our territory decimated from those clear cuts," says Hill, now 44, a band councillor and school teacher in the remote north coast village of Hartley Bay. "The land was raped while we watched, and we don't ever want to see that again."

An unprecedented new carbon offset project, among the largest ever conceived, promises industrial logging will not return. (More)

 

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.
 

Spirit Quest

The Spirit will be found within us, not on mountain tops

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

15 June 2012 — I love mountains. There is nothing more majestic than a rugged peak reaching up into the sky. Although I have never lived among them, I have had occasion to view them from afar.

In Europe I have taken the train to the Jungfraujoch in the Swiss Alps. It winds its way through beautiful alpine meadows that reminds one of Heidi and her kin. It then enters a tunnel that burrows upward in a mountain. There are a couple of stopping off spots where through windows in the rock wall one can view the stunning mountain ranges. The train finally pulls into a terminus that reminded me of a city subway station complete with hotel, gift shops and restaurants. A walkway leads out to a platform from where one is able to view all three, the Eiger (3,970 m) the Moench (4,107 m) and the Jungfrau (4,158 m). The magnificent view is unobstructed and seems to be within touching distance. (More)
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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life
 
 
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 www.hone-mercure.com/index_hone_en.php.

15 June 2012 — “Are you going to see actual people this morning?” teases my husband as he watches me assemble the essentials for this morning’s excursion: sunhat, water bottle, snacks and an umbrella, these being uncertain times.
 
“Yes”, I reply. “But most of them will be long dead.” My husband laughs: he knows that a friend and I are taking a walking tour of a few neighbourhood houses opened today to the general public for a charitable cause. The houses we plan to visit are quite old, some dating back to Victorian times and I am quite certain they are silently inhabited by all the families who have lived within their walls over many generations. (More.)
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Beating the Drum

'We … are creating a world that is afraid to show affection'

By Beverly Blanchard
True North Perspective
 
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.

15 June 2012 — When is hugging considered detrimental to a child’s safety and well-being? Apparently in a Brampton senior elementary school it has been labeled as inappropriate by the powers that be and now we have students fighting for the right to hug. Yes, fighting for the right to show love and affection!

Last week two students in a Brampton school were reprimanded for hugging and told they could be suspended. Yes, a show of affection toward another student in time of need and it results in an absurd reprimand. Is this the new definition for criminal behaviour? (More)
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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.

Chavez unveils surveillance drone

Venezuela's president says the country is producing unmanned aerial surveillance drones

BBC News

Hugo Chavez said the aircraft were being built as part of military co-operation with Iran and other allies.

In a televised address from the country's defence ministry, Mr Chavez said the aircraft, of which he said there are currently three, were solely for defensive purposes.

He said Venezuela had also started making grenades and Kalashnikov rifles.

He said that Russia, China, Iran and "other allied countries" had contributed to the projects. (More)
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Ever alert to the threat of cultural contamination

US denies Cuba visas to child and teen performers

14 June 2012 LAS TUNAS Cuba — The US State Department has denied visas requested by young artists from that country who intended to participate in the 45th edition of the Jornada Cucalambeana, scheduled for this eastern Cuban city from June 27 through July 1. In an e-mail signed by the representatives of the Chicago-based folk company, its members (expressed) regret (for) this situation, since they saw the trip to Cuba as a possibility to establish bonds of twinning between the two peoples. (More)
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No longer running as Republican candidate for president

but Ron Paul is gathering strength for August convention

By Seema Mehta
Los Angelas Times
 
16 June 2012 — DES MOINES Iowa — Rick Santorum won the Iowa caucuses in January, with Mitt Romney a close second, but neither was the true winner this weekend when the delegates who actually will vote at the Republican National Convention were selected. That would be Ron Paul.
 
The congressman from Texas finished a distant third in the Iowa caucuses more than six months ago, but of the 28 delegates selected Friday and Saturday to head to the national convention, 23 are Paul supporters – and they are not bound to support the victor of the state’s first-in-the-nation voting contest.

It’s part of a quiet strategy by Paul and his backers to amass an army of supporters at the GOP gathering in August in Tampa, Fla., to push Paul’s views on liberty, states' rights, the monetary system and foreign policy. By working arcane electoral rules and getting supporters into positions of power in local, county and state party operations, the strategy is paying dividends across the nation. (More)

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Science
 
How smart is the average bear?
 
 
By Robert T. Gonzalez
io9.com
 
15 June 2012 — Most people readily accept that bears are smart animals. In fact, most wildlife biologists regard bears as some of the most intelligent land mammals on Earth; and yet, there's very little formal research to support what everyone pretty much accepts as true.
 
Now, in the first study of its kind, researchers Jennifer Vonk and Michael J. Beran have demonstrated that American black bears can differentiate between groups of dots on a touchscreen computer, based on the number of dots each group contains.
 
The experiment was relatively straightforward. Bears were presented with two arrays of dots. The researchers trained two bears to choose the smaller of two arrays, and a third bear to select the larger array. (More.)
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How and what the rich buy, live-in, and sell
 
Top ten real estate deals in the United States
 
This week's Top 10 homes spotlight at www.toptenrealestatedeals.com/ includes a look at Celine Dion's 24,000 square foot mansion on a private island in Quebec, Canada. Celine and her husband-manager René Angélil recently listed their estate in Quebec for $29.7 million. You get to the home over a private gated bridge that has a manned security station. They bought the home in 2001 for $8 million & then hired 300 people who spent three years upgrading and expanding the estate. The furnishings and artwork are included in the sale. It is the second most expensive home for sale in Canada, behind a Vancouver home for sale at $31.9 million.

In other home news:

Dean Martin was a master crooner, actor and comedy star.  His signature song "Everybody Loves Somebody" knocked the Beatles from the No. 1 spot in the U.S. in 1964. He was a member of the Rat Pack and spent 30 years performing in Las Vegas. So what inspired Dean? It might have been his Arizona golf home that is now for sale at $1.29 million. The 6,097 square foot home is tucked away in Tucson’s 650 acre Omni Tucson National Estates Golf Resort, considered to be one of the best golf resorts in North America.

After several months of kicking tires, Justin “The Bieb” Bieber has purchased his first home. It is in the San Fernando Valley, a 10,000 square foot hacienda-style mansion on 1.3 acres of green lawns and professional landscaping. His new Calabasas neighborhood has quickly become an enclave for stars such as the entire Jenner-Kardashian family, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz and Howie Mandel. Justin paid $6.5 million.

Also, an Oklahoma oil baron's ostentatious home from the 1920s is going to auction, a condo project in Fort Myers, Florida that was built to rival the most luxurious South Beach condos and were originally listed at up to $1 million are now on sale from $217,900, and the “Vampire Diaries” house in Georgia is for sale at $385,000.

Real estate is never boring at TopTenRealEstateDeals. Check out today's most entertaining and unusual real estate news stories of the week at: www.toptenrealestatedeals.com/real-estate-news-headlines/ where you won't get information about home loan rates or housing starts or stuff like that. Instead, we will bring you news such as the Michigan family who became famous after they bought Madonna's childhood home, the end of Florida's condo bargains, and America's best and worst housing markets. Also a new reality game from Canada: is it a million dollar mansion or a crack-house?

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Fifty Shades of Grey

Indie hit is hot and arousing, against reviewer's better judgement

Review by Sigrid Macdonald

15 June 2012 — Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James is hot and I say that against my better judgment. In fact, my uber rich, dreamy looking lover is breathing down my neck at this moment, threatening to beat me to orgasm with a riding crop, and forcing me to write this. Just kidding. But I am serious about the fact that I didn't want to like this book.

I expected it to be too soft or maybe too hard, too saccharine or perhaps too dark and disturbing, but it was none of these things. It was a very sensuous and interesting look at a gorgeous, rich man with a predilection for domination and his fascination with a naïve 21-year-old whom he met by chance.

Why is Fifty Shades such a hit? Is it because married women are bored with the familiarity of their sex lives and single women find theirs to be erratic and unstable? Are male readers fantasizing about tying up their female partners? (More)
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The Book End

Sex & Samosas takes the reader

on a humorous high-spirited ride on that road

where Western liberal and South Asian cultures clash

Special to True North Perspective

I have worked in sales all my life. I have sold everything from Indian handicrafts in my family's business to showerheads and vibrators (they may sound related to some people, but for two different companies). As much as selling comes naturally to me, I have always had a passion for writing. During the course of four years doing home party presentations involving the sale of everything from skin products to lingerie and adult toys, I met a lot of incredible women and was inspired by them to write a novel that would help navigate the subtle complexities of the modern woman.

My novel Sex & Samosas examines the emotional journey of one woman who struggles not only with her personal sense of self worth but with her constant attempt to find balance between living in a liberal Western culture while being brought up by a traditional South Asian mother. (More.)


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.

The pair will fight for the world title in Las Vegas on July 7, almost two years after Sonnen's fifth-round loss to the Brazilian in their only previous meeting.

"I feel sorry for him. He is a frustrated man," Silva told TV Globo on Sunday night. "He has never won anything in his life. The fight is going to be something else."

During a press conference to promote the event in Rio last month, the American said Silva's championship belt was "a fake" and belittled his humble upbringing in Brazil.

Silva, who has not lost a bout since January 2006, said his family had taken offence at Sonnen's remarks.

The pair will fight for the world title in Las Vegas on July 7, almost two years after Sonnen's fifth-round loss to the Brazilian in their only previous meeting.

"I feel sorry for him. He is a frustrated man," Silva told TV Globo on Sunday night. "He has never won anything in his life. The fight is going to be something else."

During a press conference to promote the event in Rio last month, the American said Silva's championship belt was "a fake" and belittled his humble upbringing in Brazil.

Silva, who has not lost a bout since January 2006, said his family had taken offence at Sonnen's remarks.