Friday 17 September 2010

Rear-view mirror
Never Forget: Bad Wars Aren't Possible Unless Good People Back Them
By Michael Moore

By Daniel Tencer

17 September 2010 — Fewer than one in five Americans would support a US military strike on Iran if the Middle Eastern country continued to pursue its nuclear program in the face of international sanctions, a new poll indicates.
But while a majority of Americans continue to oppose the use of torture in warfare, even in the war on terrorism, the survey shows opposition is softening. Read the full story at, 545 words.

15 September 2010  I know we've been "free" of the Iraq War for two weeks now and our minds have turned to the new football season and Fashion Week in New York. And how exciting that the new fall TV season is just days away!

But before we get too far away from something we would all just like to forget, will you please allow me to just say something plain and blunt and necessary:

We invaded Iraq because most Americans -- including good liberals like Al Franken, Nicholas Kristof & Bill Keller of the New York Times, David Remnick of the New Yorker, the editors of the Atlantic and the New Republic, Harvey Weinstein, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and John Kerry -- wanted to.

Of course the actual blame for the war goes to Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz because they ordered the "precision" bombing, the invasion, the occupation, and the theft of our national treasury. I have no doubt that history will record that they committed the undisputed Crime of the (young) Century.

But how did they get away with it, considering they'd lost the presidential election by 543,895 votes? They also knew that the majority of the country probably wouldn't back them in such a war (a Newsweek poll in October 2002 showed 61% thought it was "very important" for Bush to get formal approval from the United Nations for war -- but that never happened). So how did they pull it off?  Read the full story at, 2,816 words.
(Cartoon by Chan Lowe,, 14 September 2010.)

A Pandora's Box Harper can't shut

By James Travers
Toronto Star
16 September 2010, OTTAWA War is hell and the devil is in its details. Once a Liberal reality, those worn axioms are now among the most awkward truths for Conservatives facing more questions about torture and the Afghanistan operations of Canada’s hyper-secretive Special Forces.

How Canada’s elite Joint Task Force 2 handles prisoners has been politically explosive almost from the moment Canadian boots hit the Afghanistan sand. In January 2002 a news photo exposed the JTF2 transferring detainees to U.S. troops, igniting a Parliament Hill firestorm that badly singed then defence minister Art Eggleton.

Eggleton was just the first to feel the heat. Gordon O’Connor, a former military officer and arms lobbyist Stephen Harper recklessly chose as defence minister, was eventually shuffled out of cabinet after apologizing for misleading Parliament over the Red Cross role in monitoring prisoner treatment. Since then successor Peter MacKay has been struggling to control the damage, first by figuratively shooting the messenger, diplomat Richard Colvin, and then by more reasonably arguing that Conservatives are strengthening the weak safeguards Liberals left behind. — Read the full story at The Toronto Star, 601 words.


Editor's Notes

True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 40 (244)
Friday, September 17, 2010

When I say us I mean the West, the Americans, Australians, the Brits, and us Canadians, to name some. 

As Eva Golinger reveals in one of her Postcards from the Revolution, (please see below) Washington and agencies it owns and controls has spent up to $50 million in Venezuela to fix the country's Sunday, September 26 legislative elections.

Imagine how we would feel if Venezuela or any other country would invade us with money, set up non-government organizations to manipulate the electorate. — Read the full story inside,  327 words.

Our readers write

Suicide's not painless

The subject of suicide is a very difficult topic for most people. Albert Villeneuve-Sinclair ("Whatever happened to big red?", September 10) brought it out and showed it's OK to talk about it and feel the compassion, not some warped thinking process of wrong. 

I am going to share her article with my son, Darin, who lost a dear friend at age 17. I hope it will help him better understand that his friend did not let him down. Keep up the good work of shedding light on tragic situations. We need to embrace them and move on to the more positive side of sad moments.
 — Dawn McBride, Toronto, Ontario

Thoughtful article, Alberte! Suicide is so prevalent in many people's minds - I know! When I was diagnosed with MS, I had a plan in place. Fortunately, I dug myself out of that hole, but there are so many who harbour these thoughts. Awareness might make them think they are not alone and encourage them to seek help. Good for you to help with this! P.S. Hope your rosebush shows signs of recovery!

—  Dorothyanne Brown, Ottawa, Ont.

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Crackpot Florida preacher puts Obama on Defensive

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

15 September 2010 It’s a sad commentary on the state of public discourse in North America that President Obama had to appeal to a crackpot Florida pastor not to burn copies of the Koran to protect Americans overseas from attacks.

He should have only had to point out that book burning goes against the basic tenet of free speech in a modern, democratic society, of which the United States likes to position itself as a shinning example. Burning books is neither enlightened nor Christian behaviour. Surely the United States has hate crime laws that would cover such an episode. Unless a publication advocates criminal activity, there should be no discrimination against its distribution.

Of course, the mere suggestion of a Koran bonfire triggered the predictable mob scenes in Arab and Southeast Asian countries.

Read the full story inside,  471 words.
Your tax dollars at work
Federal tax-payer-funded researchers need approval to speak to media
By Margaret Munro
The Vancouver Sun

 13 September 2010 The Harper government has tightened the muzzle on federal scientists, going so far as to control when and what they can say about floods at the end of the last ice age.

Natural Resources Canada (NRC) scientists were told this spring they need "pre-approval" from Minister Christian Paradis' office to speak with journalists. Their "media lines" also need ministerial approval, say documents obtained by Postmedia News through access-to-information legislation.

The documents say the "new" rules went into force in March and reveal how they apply to not only to contentious issues including the oilsands, but benign subjects such as floods that occurred 13,000 years ago.

They also give a glimpse of how Canadians are being cut off from scientists whose work is financed by taxpayers, critics say, and is often of significant public interest — be it about fish stocks, genetically modified crops or mercury pollution in the Athabasca River.

— Read more at The Vancouver Sun,  887 words.
Alberta Diary
By David J. Climenhaga
15 September 2010 — Here's to Jack Layton for talking sense to his caucus and apparently persuading rural New Democratic Members of Parliament to do the right thing and vote to save the national rifle and shotgun registry.

If the outcome of the Parliamentary vote later this month is indeed as Layton predicted yesterday, his New Democrats will have done a great service to law-abiding families throughout Canada.

Sticking with principles that are broadly if not unanimously supported by followers of the New Democratic Party will pay dividends for the NDP, at the very least staving off a disaster in the next Canadian general election.
Many fewer NDP supporters will now feel they must vote strategically for Liberals because of the important principle embodied in the weapons registry issue. — Read the full story at, 846 words.
Bits and bites of everyday life

The power of “I can do it!” and “I did it!!”

The art of raising a child requires a delicate balance between encouraging independence and applauding cooperation

True North Perspective
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more:
17 September 2010 I have a new grand-parenting responsibility this fall. Every morning, I take my youngest grandson to his 3 year-old pre-kindergarten since there is no transport for the little ones. It is a half-day affair. 
On the first day, Spencer cried a little and held on to my leg. The teacher took him in her arms, thus enabling me to leave quietly. But this morning, as I helped him out of his raincoat and outdoor shoes and handed him his classroom shoes, he said, “I can do it!” and promptly sat on the floor and slipped his indoor shoes on. He asked me for a hug and went about choosing where he wanted to play. 
Although he is not quite three yet, he is testing his capacity to do things on his own. Read more inside,  858 words.
'I wouldn’t mind to work for free to get my transitional licence to practise'
By Nicholas Keung
Toronto Star

13 September 2010 — Foreign-trained doctors Mitra Arjang and Parampal Ghoshal donned their stethoscopes and white gowns on Monday — not to treat patients, but to protest.

Arjang, a general surgeon from Iran, and Ghoshal, a family doctor from India, say they have passed all the qualifying medical exams in Canada but failed to get a residency spot, and hence a licence to practise in Ontario.

With the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario headquarters on College St. as backdrop, the two immigrant physicians launched an online petition Monday asking the province and the regulator to issue restricted licences for foreign doctors to practise in Canada.

Representing the self-advocacy group, the Association of International Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, they said restricted licences would allow them to work in limited capacity under supervision while working toward a full licence – provided they pass the qualifying academic and clinical exams, but not necessarily with the required residency experience in Canada. — Read the full story at The Toronto Star, 444 words.
New Study concludes universal drug plan could save
up to $10.7 billion a year in total drug expenditures
CBC News
13 September 2010 — A universal prescription drug plan could chop more than $10 billion off Canada's annual health-care bill, according to a new policy study that its authors say "explodes the fallacy" that such a plan is unaffordable.
The report, released on Monday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, concludes the existing patchwork of private and public plans in Canada is inequitable, inefficient and costly.

"Canada’s pharmaceutical policies are a total failure," the study's author, Marc-André Gagnon, told reporters on Monday in Ottawa.

The report also finds that Canada is either the third or fourth most expensive country for brand-name drugs every year — after the United States, Switzerland and Germany — because it deliberately inflates drug prices in order to attract pharmaceutical investment. —

Read the full story at CBC News, 689 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

British Columbia First Nations and green groups vow to stop pipeline connecting tar sands crude with Asia-bound tankers
By Geoff Dembicki
13 September 2010 Helen Clifton was startled awake near midnight by her granddaughter's shouts. "Grannie, wake up, wake up -- something’s happened to the Queen."

Clifton, still half-dreaming, thought first of England's royal family.

"No, not that queen, Grannie. The men are all running. They're going down to the boats."

The Queen of the North, a passenger ferry traveling 441 nautical kilometres from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, had just ploughed into Gil Island, scraping paint onto rocks and barnacles. Clifton couldn't believe it. Her tiny First Nations fishing village, literally just around the bend, had long regarded the provincial ferries, with their advanced navigational equipment, as something close to invincible. Now fishermen -- or "menfolk" -- from Hartley Bay sped towards the ferry in small speedboats, drenched by pouring rain and chopping waves.

Clifton, one of the village's elders and a local matriarch, waited for news beside the VHF marine radio in her living room. It crackled. The ferry was sinking fast. It would soon be underwater. The entire village seemed to breathe in at once. "You could have heard a pin drop in this community," Clifton recalls to this visiting reporter.

Nearly four and a half years later, many in Hartley Bay fear that night may have portended their future. Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. proposes to pipeline fossil fuels from Alberta's oil sands to coastal Kitimat, and then ship them on supertankers to hungry energy markets in China and beyond.

Read the full article at TheTyee,  2,071 words.
It takes a dazzling set of skills to be an MP
Like having a hand, to pound things with
By Scott Feschuk

26 August 2010 With a federal election likely to come as early as this fall, a number of Canadians are toying with the idea of running for office. Do you have what it takes to be a member of Parliament? Let’s find out.

Do you like birthdays? Do you like other people’s birthdays? Do you like being obligated to show up at other people’s birthdays, anniversaries, retirement parties, book launches, interventions, seances, hoedowns and circumcisions? As an MP, you’ll get invited to everything and be expected to give a speech paying tribute to the individual/group/penis.

Do you have at least one hand? Pounding your hand on things is important in politics—desks, tables, the heads of small children, whatever’s around. Your leader: “Our political rivals despise our freedom, our way of life and this cute panda I’m holding.” You: [Pounding vigorously . . . ]. — Read more at MacLean's, 712 words.
Spirit Quest
By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

17 September 2010 Once upon a time, a long time ago, I considered becoming an electrician. At that age, my latter teens, most of my friends were wondering about their future occupation. I had wanted to become a newspaper reporter. They wore fedoras and had a “press” ticket in the hat band and usually carried a large speed graphic camera with a huge flash gun attached and got in to where others were restricted.

But  I made a mistake.

I took an aptitude test administered by my guidance counsellor at school  It told me to forget it, even though I already worked as a cub reporter for a local weekly and as editor of the school paper.Read more inside, 1,617  words.

He's just a man who can't say 'no'
Toronto Star

16 September 2010, TORONTO — A local con artist will spend more time behind bars after turning his jailhouse tax preparation service into a personal money-making machine to defraud the government.

Inmate Michael “Tax Guy” Bannon used his skills to fill out federal income and GST returns for more than 1,400 fellow inmates, claiming about $1.8 million in refunds during the last few years. Unfortunately, all of them were phoney.

The tall dark and handsome swindler, who currently resides in the Toronto (Don) Jail, will be in prison an additional 30 months after Justice Beverly Brown of the Ontario Court of Justice sentenced him earlier this week.

The 27-year-old Bannon had pleaded guilty last month to two counts of fraud for his role in the elaborate jailhouse scheme that allegedly involved another inmate and two women “outsiders.”

Bannon, who already had an extensive criminal record, admitted using identity data from unsuspecting inmates to drive the scheme. — Read the full story at The Toronto Star, 731 words.

In case you missed it ... and always worth repeating

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.

From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor
By Cindy Waxer
Troy Media

16 September 2010, CALGARY —  They don’t wear cowboy hats, spray crops or work on oilrigs. Yet they contribute up to 15 per cent of the province’s gross domestic product. They’re techies, and they’re the unsung heroes of Alberta’s economy.

The statistics are impressive: Alberta’s information communications technology (ICT) sector’s direct economic impact exceeds $8 billion per year, and ICT companies are among the largest spenders on industrial research and development, according to the Alberta ICT Council, a not-for-profit advocacy group. Health care, education and government services are among the countless industries benefiting from Alberta’s burgeoning tech sector.

Driving that growth are a handful of factors, including low provincial taxes, government initiatives and an impressive talent pool.  Read the full story inside, 979 words.

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'None of them will disclose who's paying for these ads. You don't know if it's a Wall Street bank. You don't know if it's a big oil company. You don't know if it's an insurance company. You don't even know if it's a foreign-controlled entity.'
By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly

17 September 2010 — We talked earlier this week about far-right interest groups collecting millions for attack ads, all in support of Republican candidates, and financed through shadowy groups awash in undisclosed donations. The NYT raised the specter of "a relatively small cadre of deep-pocketed donors, unknown to the general public ... shaping the battle for Congress."

It's not an issue Democrats spend a lot of time talking about -- they have plenty of other items they're trying to emphasize -- which is why I was glad to see President Obama take some to talk about this at an event last night in Connecticut.

"I want you to consider this -- right now, all across the country, special interests are planning and running millions of dollars of attack ads against Democratic candidates. Because last year, there was a Supreme Court decision called Citizens United. They're allowed to spend as much as they want without ever revealing who's paying for the ads. That's exactly what they're doing. Millions of dollars. — Read the full story at the Washington Monthly, 444 words.
By Eva Golinger
10 September 2010 — In 2002, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) arrived in Venezuela with a mission: Remove Hugo Chavez from power.

A report commissioned by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and published in May 2010 by the Spanish Foundation for International Relations and Foreign Dialogue (FRIDE) revealed that this year alone, international agencies are investing between $40-50 million in anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela. A large part of those funds have been channeled to the opposition coalition, Democratic Unity (MUD), and its campaign for the legislative elections on September 26. 

A majority of funding comes from US agencies, particularly USAID, which has maintained a presence in Venezuela since 2002 with the sole intention of aiding in President Chavez’s removal from power. For the past eight years, USAID has channeled millions into political parties, organizations and private media entities linked to the opposition, helping them to grow and unify, and providing strategic advice, support and resources for their political campaigns

. — Read the full story at, 1,633 words.
Russia to step up involvement in Afghanistan in quest
for stable neighbour as bulwark against islamist militant attacks

12 September 2010, KABUL — Russia’s Ambassador to Afghanistan, Andrey Avetisyan, has claimed that Britain and America have made more strategic blunders than Russia in the war-ravaged nation, and this would delay a successful withdrawal of troops.

The New York Post quoted Ambassador Avetisyan, as saying that talk of a handover to the Afghans was currently unrealistic because the coalition had failed to build the nation's forces or economy.

He also said the West was responsible for the blight of rampant corruption in the administration because it had taken the decision to plough in huge sums into badly coordinated and opaque aid projects.

— Read the full story at, 303 words.
By Elizabeth Bromstein

16 September 2010 Should you flirt your way to the top? Would you if you could?

Forbes recently ran an article titled “Flirting Your Way to the Corner Office: Are you ignoring one of your greatest career assets? A guide to professional flirtation.

Some readers were upset. To make things worse, it was published in the “Forbes Woman” section.

“I am absolutely floored that this garbage was published by Forbes!” said one commenter, whose sentiments were echoed by a few others.

I agree. This Cosmo-y piece has no place in Forbes.

In the article, Nicole Williams, author of Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success, makes the case for flirting thusly: “Using flirtation is just smart…It’s naive to think it has no place at work.” Yes. It’s also naïve to think that lying, backstabbing and sleeping your way to the top aren’t effective strategies. But that doesn’t mean Forbes should start running step-by-step how to guides. (Though, OK, I’d totally read them).

Or does it? AM I naïve?

Weirdly, the article isn’t really about flirting but offers networking 101 tips in vaguely sexy trappings.— Read the full story at, 727 words.
'A million moderate march'
Stewart: 'Restore Sanity'   •   Colbert 'Keep the fear alive'
By Daniel Stone

17 September 2010 You've got to hand it to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, social critics that they are, for keeping us attuned to the absurdity in our political discourse these days. Both have taken on the topics of the Tea Party, Fox News, and most recently the lazy campaigning of Democrats. Pulling back the curtain on the media obsessing over the normally snooze-worthy process of electing Congress, Stewart has begun asking, with the bravado of Hank Williams Jr., "Are you ready for some mid-terrrrrrrrrms?"

But neither man has gone after anyone quite so ferociously as Glenn Beck, the weepy Fox pundit who's demonstrated he can amass quite a following. Last month, Beck hosted a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, urging America to "Restore Honor" - an amorphous plea to support the troops, find God, and honor thy neighbor. About 100,000 people showed up and agreed.

But do those people speak for the rest of the country? Stewart and Colbert say no (or should it be Colbert and Stewart? More on that in a moment). Neither thinks that the loudest voices should be the only ones who are heard. And, in a move that is part social critique and part hilarious satire, both men are hosting rallies next month to counter, or maybe simply mock, the Beck rally Read the full article at Newsweek, 443 words.
Seven Roads to Sustainable Communities
How urban planning can help save our planet
By Patrick M. Condon

15 September 2010 — In 2002, scientists sounded the alarm about the loss of ice on the Arctic Ocean. Global warming was affecting the Arctic climate more rapidly than anyone had previously thought possible. They predicted that if nothing was done to curb the level of greenhouse gas pouring into the atmosphere there might be no summer ice covering the North Pole by 2050.

Early in 2009, they updated their projection. Given the rate of ice loss, the new date by which the Arctic Circle will be ice free could be as soon as 2012. The loss of ice triggers other effects, none of them good. The white ice that once reflected warming sun rays no longer does so. The deep blue ocean water that takes its place absorbs those rays, warming the water and further accelerating the warming of the planet.

Bad things happen in threes. The added heat also releases methane gas that was previously trapped under polar ice. Methane gas, like carbon dioxide, traps heat in the atmosphere, but molecule per molecule it is many times more damaging. The cascading effects of climate change, previously predicted for the distant future, are already here.

What have all of these gloomy scenarios to do with a book on city design? Everything. — Read the full story at, 3.028 words.
Health Watch

13 September 2010 A new government study adds to the evidence that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative until recently found in many vaccines, does not increase children's risk of autism.

It shows kids who had been exposed as babies to high levels of the preservative -- through vaccines they received or their mothers received while pregnant -- were no more likely to develop autism, including two distinct subtypes of the condition.

"This study should reassure parents about following the recommended immunization schedule," said Dr. Frank Destefano, director of the Immunization Safety Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, and the study's senior author

. Read the full article at, 551 words.
CBC News
17 September 2010 — Doctors should be discouraged from prescribing two popular supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin, for osteoarthritic hips and knees, researchers conclude.

A review analyzed the results of 10 published studies involving more than 3,000 patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis. Study participants took glucosamine, chondroitin, or both, and all studies used a placebo.

Prof. Peter Juni, head of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern in Switzerland, and his colleagues concluded the supplements are not dangerous for joint pain — but they do not work. — Read the full article at CBC News, 386 words.

Winning hearts and minds
Agence France-Presse

13 September 2010, WASHINGTON In the largest US arms deal ever, the administration of US President Barack Obama is ready to notify Congress of plans to offer advanced aircraft to Saudi Arabia worth up to 60 billion dollars, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The newspaper said the administration was also in talks with the kingdom about potential naval and missile-defense upgrades that could be worth tens of billions of dollars more.

The administration sees the sale as part of a broader policy aimed at shoring up Arab allies against Iran, the report said.

The 60 billion dollars in fighter jets and helicopters is the top-line amount requested by the Saudis, even though the kingdom is likely to commit initially to buying only about half that amount, the paper said. Read the full article at Yahoo! News, 262 words.
By Gareth Porter
InterPress Service
15 September 2010 — During a round of media interviews last month, Gen. David Petraeus released totals for the alleged results of nearly 3,000 "night raids" by Special Operations Forces (SOF) units over the 90 days from May through July: 365 "insurgent leaders" killed or captured, 1,355 Taliban "rank and file" fighters captured, and 1,031 killed.

Those figures were widely reported as highlighting the "successes" of SOF raids in at least hurting the Taliban.

But a direct correlation between the stepped up night raids in Kandahar province and a sharp fall-off in the proportion of IEDs being turned in by the local population indicates that the raids backfired badly, bolstering the Taliban's hold on the population in Kandahar province.

 — Read the full story, 1,231 words.

US Drone attacks bombard alleged militants in Pakistan

The latest US drone attack killed 14 suspected militants in Pakistan, bringing the number of people killed by drones in September alone to at least 75 as the US targets the Haqqani network
By David Montero
The Christian Science Monitor

— 15 September 2010 — Call it the drone surge: in a continuing, punishing wave of at least a dozen attacks since the beginning of September, unmanned US Predator drones have reportedly killed some 75 alleged militants in areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, according to Al Jazeera.

The latest attack, on Wednesday, killed at least 14 suspected militants in Pakistan’s North Waziristan agency, part of the semiautonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). It was the third such attack within 24 hours, according to unnamed officials cited by the Arab-language news agency.

Taken together, these September strikes would constitute the single largest bombardment unleashed by unmanned drones since the US military initiated the controversial program some six years ago, according to The Guardian. They would bring to 70 the total number of strikes launched this year, a new record. (The Long War Journal charts US drone strikes since 2004.)

The attacks appeared to target the militant network of Jalaluddin Haqqani, a one-time Pakistan ally whom the Pakistani government has been reluctant to take on. Read the full story at The Christian Science Monitor,  705 words.
Glass half-full
Decline from 2009 reflects efforts in India, China
The Associated Press
14 September 2010 — The estimated number of chronically hungry people in the world has dipped considerably below the one billion mark, thanks to good harvests and a drop in food prices from the spikes that sparked rioting just a few years ago, according to figures released Tuesday by the United Nations.

Still, the estimated total of 925 million undernourished people, most of them in Asia and Africa, is "unacceptably high" and well above UN goals to dramatically reduce the number of hungry mouths on the planet, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said.

Just a year ago, UN food agencies estimated that 1.02 billion people on the planet were undernourished. The lower estimate for this year, especially in light of population growth in the meantime, largely reflects progress China and India have made in feeding their people. — Read the full story at CBC News, 440 words.

Will Adidas, Gap, and Puma Pay Workers A Living Wage?
By Anne Elizabeth Moore

17 September 2010 On Monday, following a wave of strikes across Asia, around 60,000 textile workers in Phnom Penh walked off factory lines, protesting pay that stands at around half the living wage.
By Wednesday, according to Kong Athit, Secretary General of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, the number of strikers had swelled to over three times that. By some estimates, around two thirds of the 297,000 garment workers and 48,000 athletic-shoe makers refused to work in protest of low wages. (The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), the organization that sets the minimum wage, has also seen an increase in protesters, but suggests a smaller number.)
As protests hit a flashpoint Thursday, unions and government quickly agreed to renegotiate wages. A meeting will take place September 27. — Read the full article inside,  1,143 words.
A new science of creativity

 September 2010 — What makes creative relationships work?
How do two people—who may be perfectly capable and talented on their own—explode into innovation, discovery, and brilliance when working together?
These may seem to be obvious questions. Collaboration yields so much of what is novel, useful, and beautiful that it's natural to try to understand it. Yet looking at achievement through relationships is a new, and even radical, idea.
For hundreds of years, science and culture have focused on the self. We talk of self-expression, self-realization. Popular culture celebrates the hero. Schools test intelligence and learning through solo exams. Biographies shape our view of history. Read the full story at, 3,396 words.
Tens of thousands of walruses camp out on Alaska shore because sea ice melting profusely

By Seth Borenstein
The Associated Press

14 Sepmber 2010 Tens of thousands of walruses have come ashore in northwest Alaska because the sea ice they normally rest on has melted.

Federal scientists say this massive move to shore by walruses is unusual in the United States. But it has happened at least twice before, in 2007 and 2009. In those years Arctic sea ice also was at or near record low levels.

The population of walruses stretches "for one mile or more. This is just packed shoulder-to-shoulder," U.S. Geological Survey biologist Anthony Fischbach said in a telephone interview from Alaska. He estimated their number at tens of thousands.

Read the full story at, 374 words.
Money and Markets
By Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.
The New York Times
16 September 2010 — “Nice middle class you got here,” said Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader. “It would be a shame if something happened to it.”

O.K., he didn’t actually say that. But he might as well have, because that’s what the current confrontation over taxes amounts to. Mr. McConnell, who was self-righteously denouncing the budget deficit just the other day, now wants to blow that deficit up with big tax cuts for the rich. But he doesn’t have the votes. So he’s trying to get what he wants by pointing a gun at the heads of middle-class families, threatening to force a jump in their taxes unless he gets paid off with hugely expensive tax breaks for the wealthy.

Most discussion of the tax fight focuses either on the economics or on the politics — both of which suggest that Democrats should hang tough, for their own sakes as well as that of the country. But there’s an even bigger issue here — namely, the question of what constitutes acceptable behavior in American political life. Politics ain’t beanbag, but there’s a difference between playing hardball and engaging in outright extortion, which is what Mr. McConnell is now doing. And if he succeeds, it will set a disastrous precedent..

Read the full article at The New York Times, 891 words.
By Jeff Rubin
The Globe and Mail Report on Business

15 September 2010 Why are the folks at the Bundeswehr Transformation Centre, a German military think-tank, already planning for peak oil? Probably for the same reason the British Department of Energy, in concert with the Bank of England and the British Department of Defense, has ordered similar—and equally secret—studies on its impact.
Despite repeated government assurances to the contrary, the global oil supply doesn’t seem to be growing much anymore. In fact, the Bundeswehr Centre study says that oil (CL-FT73.66-0.91-1.22%)production may peak this year.
Most people judge peak oil concerns by the prevailing oil price. That prices have plunged from their triple-digit perch is proof enough to them that we need not worry about any imminent peak.
What they forget is where we’re coming from. Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 371 words.
Arts: words and music

Bob Dylan In America/America in Bob Dylan

The Dylan In All of Us explains how and why Dylan became an avatar of America
10 September 2010 Sean Wilentz on Bob Dylan? What’s next—David McCulloch on Bruce Springsteen? Doris Kearns Goodwin on the Rolling Stones? Garry Wills on Madonna? You have every right to pick up “Bob Dylan in America” with skepticism—or at least you would if you didn’t know how deep Wilentz’s background in traditional American music goes.

Given the seriousness and pretension with which so many rock critics write about their favorite artists, you might expect an academician to bury Dylan beneath mounds of stentorian prose. But Wilentz is no ordinary academic. For one thing, along with Greil Marcus, he edited “The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love, and Liberty in the American Ballad.” For another, he was practically born into the subject. His father, Elias, ran the legendary Eighth Bookshop in Greenwich Village, a store, he says, “that helped nurture the Beat poets of the 1950s and the folk revivalists of the early 1960s.” (Elias also edited “The Beat Scene,” one of the earliest anthologies of Beat poetry.) 

Sean Wilentz is surely the least pompous and most accessible of great American historians, a writer who can make 600 pages on “The Age of Reagan” into beach reading. In his book on Dylan, he succeeds in casting the same analytical eye on a cultural icon that he did on political figures such as Jefferson and Jackson, and he does it with the enthusiasm of a fan. — Read the full article at,  2,044  words.

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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.