Friday 24 September 2010

By Kai Wrigt
  Brandy Young stands with her daughter after they were evicted from their apartment  in Miami. (Photo detail from Getty Images/Joe Raedle.)

17 September 2010  The maddening thing about Beltway political culture is not its oft-maligned partisan divide, but rather its ever-present consensus that tomorrow will be better, when all evidence points to the contrary. American families have been spiraling in a steady and quickening economic decline for years, a devolution that did not begin with this recession and will not soon end without massive and sustained intervention. That hard truth is as plain as the troubling reality that few in Washington are prepared to face it.

Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau released data showing record-breaking poverty in 2009: Nearly 44 million Americans lived below the poverty line; that’s more than the Census Bureau has logged in the 51 years it has kept track. This may have been the year’s least surprising headline—such numbers grow from our political choices just as surely as night follows day. 

Nor is it surprising who fared most poorly in 2009. While the overall poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent—one in seven—more than a quarter of both African Americans and Latinos lived in poverty last year. The data for poor children is the most arresting. Nearly 36 percent of black kids and 33 percent of Latino kids were poor in 2009, as were 38.5 percent of all families headed by single moms. Stop and try to digest this data: More than a third of all black and Latino kids are growing up destitute. With numbers like that, how can we talk meaningfully about a future of any kind, let alone a better one? Read the full story at, 1,235 words.
Cartoon by Steve Sack,, 2010-09-20
(Cartoon by Steve Sack,, 20 September 2010.)

Marching boldly into the 1990s

Mounties to recruit women and minorities

The RCMP plans to make white, male police officers a minority on the force within a generation as it struggles to better reflect the multicultural face of Canada
By Colin Freeze
The Globe and Mail

24 September 2010 Under new hiring benchmarks set this month, senior Mounties say that new classes of recruits should comprise 30 per cent women, 20 per cent visible minorities and 10 per cent aboriginals, The Globe has learned. If the benchmarks are met, it would be the first time “minority” hires would actually represent a majority of RCMP recruits.

These benchmarks amount to a near doubling, tripling and quintupling of the respective categories of cadets recruited last year. Figures show that, under less ambitious employment-equity goals then, the RCMP graduated classes that were 17 per cent women, 7 per cent visible minorities and 2 per cent aboriginal.

Read the full story at The Globe and Mail, 608 words.
Editor's Notes
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 41 (245)
Friday, September 24, 2010
I won't go on about Venezuela's national elections here, just long enough to draw your attention to U.S. attorney Eva Golinger's sober and compelling rendition of the truth.
The exercise of this example of blatant dishonesty brings to mind that when Washington wants to get rid of someone, they embark on a propaganda demonization campaign entirely in the spirit of yellow journalism that sprouted in New York City about the end of the 19th century, orchestrated by Pulitzer and Hearst. — Read the full story inside,  280 words.
Our readers write
Alberte did it!

"I can do it!", she said. And she did it!  Another fine article by Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair, inviting parents to take the time to really observe and see their children as unique individuals, with their own talents and their own limits.
 — Geneviève Hone, Ottawa, Ontario

Well done, Grandma! Of course, children don't come with an instruction manual. Raising children is a challenge. But if parents communicate and understand each child's unique temperament, special strengths and weaknesses... and if the parents have had similar-minded parents ... usually the children turn out well and are well equipped to put their talents and special aptitudes to good use in ways that make their grandparents real proud.

A University of Ottawa psychologist used to say, "It's often the parents who create problems; it's not the children themselves." As a father of four and grandfather of eight, I must say my children have done well and my grandchildren are on the right path to success. We're proud of them and it's really fun, Alberte!
 — Robert Beauchemin, Ottawa, Ont.

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Dismissing the MPs as a bunch of ill mannered school children is way too easy

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
24 September 2010 The conduct of MPs during Question Period has suddenly come in for a lot of attention. A conference on cleaning up their act was held just days before the Commons resumed its deliberations on Sept. 20.
The presumption in the work by the Public Policy Forum and in numerous commentaries it spawned is that the circus atmosphere is something new.

From my first days reporting from Parliament back in 1975, QP, as it’s known on the Hill, has never lived up to the hype. At some point, I began calling it Questionable Period.

Read more inside,  729 words.
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
'Our people have been tied to the Peel River watershed for generations," says Na-Cho Nyak Dun Chief Simon Mervyn. "Our people are born there, our people have been buried there. The spirituality of this place to our people must be acknowledged.'
ByShannon Thompson

10 September 2010, DUO LAKES, Yukon, Canada Na-cho Nyak Dun elder Jimmy Johnny would rather be picking blueberries and wandering off alone to scout for animals. But today he has a job to do: tell reporters and southerners like me why we should care about the fight to protect the Peel River Watershed in the northeast Yukon.

"To me this is home, I feel I belong here. There is no words for saying what I feel inside about this place. I just don't want to see it disturbed," says Johnny.

He has had plenty of time to get to know the Peel and its mountains, wild rivers, and abundant wildlife. For the past 52 years he's worked as a guide in this area. "I fell in love with this country out here, its pure, pure water and many, many animals," Johnny says, looking out at the land around the Snake River. "Caribou, grizzlies, wolves, foxes, moose, gopher, ptarmigan, falcons, grouse. You name it, it's here." Read the full article at, 1,110 words.

Galileo's dream takes flight

By Charles Q. Choi




23 September 2010, TORONTO Humanity spent centuries trying to fly like birds with flapping wings before finally developing the technologies needed to soar with balloons and then taking to the air with gas-powered, fixed-wing aircraft.

Now, as if flying full circle, a human-powered aircraft that flies using flapping wings has been invented.

The Snowbird is the first human-powered ornithopter — an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings — to fly continuously. During its record-setting flight on Aug. 2, it maintained both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds, covering a distance of 475 feet (145 meters) at an average speed of 15.9 mph (25.6 kph). — Read more at,  957 words.
Bits and bites of everyday life
True North Perspective
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more:
24 September 2010 Autumn is here! Since I’ve retired from teaching, I love this time of the year! Instead of being locked up in a classroom, I am free to soak up the sun and the autumn colours, clean my garden at a more leisurely pace and do the odd fall jobs on weekdays instead of weekends. This gives me the opportunity to enjoy weekend outings. Saturday, for example, we are heading out to the 26th annual Merrickville Artists Guild Studio Tour. It’s always a treat to mingle with artists of all kinds and see their work. I will have my camera with me because Merrickville is a beautiful town! We plan to visit two local artists, Catherine and her husband Gord, whom we met at this year’s Garlic Festival in Perth.
Last year at this time, I enjoyed an apple-picking outing with three of my grandchildren. We headed for a local orchard in Bourget where we were handed small bushels and a wheelbarrow. Nathan got a free ride out of it! . Read more inside,  999 words.
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
By Tom Sandborn
24 September 2010 — UNITE HERE, the union that represents workers at some of Vancouver's most luxurious hotels says the corporations that run the hotels are resorting to fake environmental programs at one of the hotel chains and to tactics at the bargaining table meant to undermine the interests of their workers and create a "jobless recovery" in the industry.

On Sept. 21, the hotel dispute escalated as the union called for a customer boycott against the Vancouver Hyatt Regency.

"I am calling for a boycott and asking guests not to eat, drink or sleep at the Hyatt. The boycott means that I'm making a sacrifice, since I may lose shifts. I am the main provider for my family since my husband is on medical leave, but I'm doing this for a better future in the long-term," said Naden Abenes, a room attendant at the Vancouver Hyatt.  — Read the full story at The, 1,460 words.

Spirit Quest

Amazing grace

'Go into the world with a daring and tender love.
The world is waiting for you'

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

24 September 2010 There is something haunting about the sound of a bagpipe.
One day as I was cycling through the countryside, off in the distance I heard the plaintive music of the bagpipes. Presently I came upon a small farm nestled in a copse. It was evening and a family was sitting on the porch steps while a man in overalls, the father I presumed, stood in the yard playing the bagpipes. The family sat listening almost reverently. It is a scene that I will not forget.
I waved at them and continued on my way. The sound of the bagpipes faded into the wooded hills. I do not remember what he was playing. Indeed, I don’t know many of the tunes, nor I am able to identify them. Of course I have often heard them played, especially in a country that boast a Scottish heritage.Read more inside, 1,323 words.
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

The smoking gun on the Athabasca River: deformed fish

Top ecologist has never seen so many deformed fish from one region
Cites evidence of extreme pollution near Alberta oil sands
By Andrew Nikiforuk
17 September 2010 — Armed with photos and ice-filled tubs of deformed fish from Lake Athabasca, a broad coalition of aboriginal communities, scientists, fishermen and local politicians asked the Canadian government yesterday to fund a comprehensive fish monitoring program on rivers and lakes downstream of the controversial oil/tar sands.

At the University of Alberta in a room packed with nearly 100 reporters and onlookers, David Schindler, one of the world's most celebrated water ecologists, explained that he had never seen so many deformed fish from one region in his long career as a freshwater scientist except on polluted rivers feeding the Great Lakes nearly 30 years ago.

In addition to photographs of deformed fish with large back tumors, reporters could also examine several ice-filled tubs displaying suckers with stomach abnormalities, burbot with snubbed faces and white fish with shortened tails and odd-looking lesions. All had been pulled from fishing nets on Lake Athabasca and the delta over the last two years. — Read the full story at, 1,608 words.
By Nick Aplin
Contributing Editor
True North Perspective

24 September 2010 —  This was on the list of places the hotel provided and after seeking some reviews it seemed like a good bet.

Arriving about 7:20 pm I was greeted/accosted by a server by the door. After perusing the posted menu outside I entered and was the first patron of the evening with all of the staff waiting. I chose a seat facing the door by a wall in the middle of the room. There were no fish dishes that appealed to me so I chose a hot appetizer and the Salade Perigourdine, imagining that I might try one of the desserts that reviewers had raved about. — Read the full story inside, 805 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.

Annals of Education — From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor  

College and university students face ever-higher debts: report

Canadian Council on Learning

22 September 2010 As students in Canada’s post-secondary institutions settle into the new academic year, a new report from the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) shows that many of them are taking on higher debt-loads than in the past.

“Tallying the Costs of Post-secondary Education: The Challenge of Managing Student Debt and Loan Repayment in Canada” delves into the current state of the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) and examines the impact it is having on the present and future lives of Canadian students. Between 1990 and 2000, the average debt for a university graduate more than doubled. By 2009, the average debt for university graduates was $26,680, while the average for college graduates was $13,600.

This rise in debt-loads coincides with recent news that the CSLP had for the first time reached its maximum level of $15 billion, requiring further allocation of funds. Read the full story at the Canadian Council on Learning, 449 words.

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Imperial Overstretch
Photo-illustration by Geoffrey Dow
By Stephen Zunes

September 24, 2010 — The Pentagon has announced a $60 billion arms package to the repressive family dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, the largest arms sale of its kind in history. Rejecting the broad consensus of arms control advocates that the Middle East is too militarized already and that the Saudis already possess military capabilities well in excess of their legitimate security needs, the Obama administration is effectively insisting that this volatile region does not yet have enough armaments and that the United States must send even more.

According to reports, Washington is planning to sell 84 new F-15 fighters and three types of helicopters: 72 Black Hawks, 70 Apaches and 36 Little Birds. There are also reports of naval missile-defense upgrades in the works. — Read the full story at, 1,419 words.

By T. Christian Miller
September 23, 2010 — More private contractors than soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, the first time in history that corporate casualties have outweighed military losses on America’s battlefields.

More than 250 civilians working under U.S. contracts died in the war zones between January and June 2010, according to a ProPublica analysis of the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Labor, which tracks contractor deaths. In the same period, 235 soldiers died, according to Pentagon figures.

This milestone in the privatization of modern U.S. warfare reflects both the drawdown in military forces in Iraq and the central role of contractors in providing logistics support to local armies and police forces, contracting and military experts said.  — Read the full story at, 765 words.

By Robert Reich

September 24, 2010 — The super-rich got even wealthier this year, and yet most of them are paying even fewer taxes to support the eduction, job training, and job creation of the rest of us. According to Forbes magazine’s annual survey, just released, the combined net worth of the 400 richest Americans climbed 8% this year, to $1.37 trillion. Wealth rose for 217 members of the list, while 85 saw a decline.

For example, Charles and David Koch, the energy magnates who are pouring vast sums of money into Republican coffers and sponsoring tea partiers all over America, each gained $5.5 billion of wealth over the past year. Each is now worth $21.5 billion.

Wall Street continued to dominate the list; 109 of the richest 400 are in finance or investments. — Read the full story at Robert Reich's Blog, 353 words.

and meanwhile ...
By Eva Golinger
Postcards from a Revolution
By Francisco Dominguez, VSC
23 September 2010Venezuelans once again go to the polls Sunday 26 September.

Venezuelans vote on Sunday for the South American nation's 165-seat National Assembly – its national parliament. This is the 16th national election or referenda since Chávez was first elected President in 1998. 

Venezuela’s last election was a referendum on the right of the President to stand again on 15 February 2009. This was endorsed by 54% of the electorate, against 46% opposing the measure. Sunday’s election is the first to take place against the backdrop of a recession in Venezuela, which has been hit hard by the world recession as have many other countries. — Read the full story at, 2,222 words.

17  September 2010 — As election day approaches in Venezuela (Sunday, 26 September), the international media have increased negative coverage of the South American nation. CNN applauds terrorism against Venezuela, while Fox News accuses the Chavez government of terrorism

The bombardment of negative, false, distorted and manipulated news about Venezuela in U.S. media has increased in volume and intensity during the last few days. Venezuela is subjected to this phenomenon every time an electoral process nears. This international media campaign against the government of Hugo Chavez appears to have a clear and coordinated objective: removing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from power.

During the last eight years, those pursuing this same objective have promoted, and attempted to justify, coup d’etats, economic sabotages, terrorist acts, assassination attempts, electoral interventions, psychological warfare and a disproportionate increase in U.S. military presence in the region – all with the goal of ousting President Chavez. And to achieve this objective – which every year seems attainable to the powers that be – millions and millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are channeled by U.S. agencies into political parties, campaigns, candidates and organizations that oppose Chavez.

International media also do their part. — Read the full story at, 1,144 words.
U.K. police arrest six for burning Korans
Agenece France-Presse
23 September 2010, LONDON — Police have arrested six people on suspicion of inciting racial hatred over a YouTube video apparently showing them setting fire to copies of the Koran, a spokesman said Thursday.

Northumbria Police said that they had detained two men on September 15 and four more on Wednesday, adding that all of them had been bailed pending further inquiries.

"The arrests followed the burning of what are believed to have been two Korans in Gateshead on September 11," a spokesman said, referring to a town in the Newcastle conurbation.

"The incident was recorded and a video placed on the Internet."

The YouTube video shows a group of masked men shouting "September 11, International Burn a Koran Day" and "This is for the boys in Afghanistan" before pouring petrol on what they claim are two copies of Islam's holy book. — Read the full article at, 306 words.

Report from Obama's America
Papers! I need to see your papers
(it's all about the oil — again)
By Stephen C. Webster

19 September 2010 Ever go to the beach and not think of slapping together a sand castle? And who doesn't enjoy the feeling of wet, warm sand between her toes?
According to federal authorities who recently intercepted an oil-hunting reporter on a Florida beach, those activities have been deemed "illegal."
The officers' legal revelation (which is not actually true) came as something of a surprise to Dan Thomas, reporter for WEAR ABC 3 in Pensacola, Florida, who was visiting the Gulf Islands National Seashore for a special report.
Shovel men at the ready, it did not take Thomas long to uncover splotches of oily crude less than a foot below the surface. Within seconds, his report had shown that BP's cleanup efforts, which have been limited to just the top six inches of sand in most cases, are not entirely effective. — Read the full article at, 584 words.
Rear-view mirror

Agence France-Presse

22 September 2010 — Former president George W. Bush's advisers focused on toppling Saddam Hussein's regime as soon as he took office and discussed how to justify a war in Iraq shortly after invading Afghanistan in 2001, official documents showed Wednesday.

A few hours after the September 11 attacks in 2001, then defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of attacking Iraq as well as Osama bin Laden, according to notes of a meeting on that day, newly declassified papers show.

Rumsfeld told a Pentagon lawyer to go to his deputy to get "support" showing a supposed link between the Iraqi regime and Al-Qaeda's founder, according to the papers posted by the Washington-based National Security Archive, an independent research institute.

The US government has since acknowledged that Saddam's regime had no role in the 9/11 attacks. Read the full article at, 558 words.

How American's political consciousness lost touch with reality
By Robert Parry
Consortium News

15 September 2010 As Election Day 2010 approaches – as the United States wallows in the swamps of war, recession and environmental degradation – the consequences of the nation’s three-decade-old decoupling from reality are becoming painfully obvious.

Yet, despite the danger, the nation can’t seem to move in a positive direction, as if the suctioning effect of endless spin, half-truths and lies holds the populace in place, a force that grows ever more powerful like quicksand sucking the country deeper into the muck – to waist deep, then neck deep.

Trapped in the mud, millions of Americans are complaining about their loss of economic status, their sense of powerlessness, their nation’s decline. But instead of examining how the country stumbled into this morass, many still choose not to face reality.

Instead of seeking paths to the firmer ground of a reality-based world, people from different parts of the political spectrum have decided to embrace unreality even more, either cynically as a way to delegitimize a political opponent or because they’ve simply become addicted to the crazy.

The latest manifestation of the wackiness can be found in the rise of the Tea Party, a movement of supposedly grassroots, mad-as-hell regular Americans that is subsidized by wealthy corporate donors (such as the billionaire Koch brothers) seeking to ensure deregulation of their industries and to consolidate their elite control over the political process Read the full article at Consortium News, 3,333 words.
VIDEO: Stephen Colbert’s testimony
at Congressional immigration hearing
Self-pity among the privileged has become acceptable, even fashionable
'The spectacle of high-income Americans, the world’s luckiest people, wallowing in self-pity and self-righteousness would be funny, except for one thing: they may well get their way.'
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
19 September 2010 — Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge.

No, I’m not talking about the Tea Partiers. I’m talking about the rich.

These are terrible times for many people in this country. Poverty, especially acute poverty, has soared in the economic slump; millions of people have lost their homes. Young people can’t find jobs; laid-off 50-somethings fear that they’ll never work again.

Yet if you want to find real political rage — the kind of rage that makes people compare President Obama to Hitler, or accuse him of treason — you won’t find it among these suffering Americans. You’ll find it instead among the very privileged, people who don’t have to worry about losing their jobs, their homes, or their health insurance, but who are outraged, outraged, at the thought of paying modestly higher taxes. Read the full article at The New York Times, 848 words.
'Explain what you want from us'
By Dana Lacey
The Canadian Journalism Project
21 September 2010 A photojournalist working for a newspaper in Mexico's most violent city has been murdered, bringing Mexico's journalist death toll to 22 in just four years. In response, the paper will restrict its coverage of the drug war.
Last week, two photographers working for El Diario de Juárez, the main newspaper in Ciudad Juáre, Mexico, one a new employee and the other an intern, were attacked by gunmen as they were leaving their office for lunch. Luis Carlos Santiago, 21, died and the intern was seriously wounded, The Guardian reports. Santiago is the second El Diario employee to be murdered in less than two years: in 2008 a crime reporter was murdered as he walked his daughters to school. Read the full article at The Canadian Journalism Project, 426 words.
Health Watch

Experts urge caution for pregnant women and young children

Despite claims from President Barack Obama and federal officials that Gulf seafood is safe and poses no long-term health risks, no testing for heavy metals is occurring in fish or shellfish in areas that have been reopened to commercial and recreational fishing.

Both National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and FDA officials told Raw Story that fish and shellfish being tested for the purpose of reopening waters to commercial and recreational fishing are not being tested for heavy metals. — Read the full story, 710 words.

By Brad Jacobson

22 September 2010 — Despite repeated assurances from federal officials and President Obama, independent scientists and public health experts have serious concerns about the long-term safety of Gulf seafood consumption.
In particular, experts tell Raw Story, contaminants from the massive oil spill and unprecedented use of the dispersants employed to dissolve the spill have the potential to cause cancer and neurological disorders.
In interviews with Raw Story last week, scientists and public health experts expressed concerns over possible long-term risks from eating contaminated Gulf seafood. — Read the full article at, 1,259 words.
Future? Fat
The Associated Press
23 September 2010 — Three out of four Americans will be overweight or obese by 2020, and disease rates and health care spending will balloon, unless governments, individuals and industry cooperate on a comprehensive strategy to combat the epidemic, the study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said.

The Paris-based organization, which brings together 33 of the world's leading economies, is better known for forecasting deficit and employment levels than for measuring waistlines. But the economic cost of excess weight — in health care, and in lives cut short and resources wasted — is a growing concern for many governments.

Franco Sassi, the OECD senior health economist who authored the report, blamed the usual suspects for the increase.

— Read the full article at, 490 words.
From the Desk of Anita Chan, Contrbuting Editor
18 September 2010 — One big debate in the international trade union movement in the past two decades has been whether to engage with the All-China Federation of Trade Union (ACFTU). As a union under the control of the Chinese Communist Party, one camp has argued for no engagement. The camp that supports engagement argued that in this enormous organization there must be some trade unionists who stood with labor, and they were the ones who might one day initiate change within the ACFTU. There has been hostility between the two camps. With time, more and more unions and labor activists around the world are seeking engagement with the ACFTU, in one fashion or another.
Over the past several years, the Guangzhou Municipal Federation of Trade Unions (GZFTU) under the leadership of chair Chen Weiguang for the past seventeen years, has emerged to be such a trade union, one that tries to take initiatives and test the prescribed limits of its “rights protection” mandate. It has tried to set up “industrial unions”, the first one being the construction workers union, and as referenced in the translated article, there are plans to set up a union for the insurance industry. The GZFTU is unusually open to exchanges with foreign trade unions, labor NGOs and activists that go beyond formal hand-shaking or sight-seeing tours. — Read the full story inside, 605 words.
By Anita Chan
Contributing Editor, Australia
True North Perspective

19 September 2010, BEIJINGWhen Bill Gates and Warren Buffett visit Beijing this month in a drive to promote philanthropy among China's super-rich, one person they won't need to convince is Chen Guangbiao.

The demolition company tycoon pledged this month to give his fortune estimated at more than 700 million dollars to charity after he dies and says more than 100 other rich Chinese had since contacted him to promise the same. — Read the full article at Terra Daily, 657 words.

24 September 2010 — The Washington Post has published an interesting story on the response of China’s aristocrats to the coming visit of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, now widely known for their challenge to wealthy Americans to give their fortunes to charity.
According to the Post, although Chinese magnates were initially excited by the prospect of meeting Gates and Buffet, they began discretely to try to discover if they, too, would be pressured to pledge their fortunes to philanthropy.  A few even reportedly declared that they could not attend the event that will feature the donating duo because of schedule conflicts. — Read the full story inside, 404 words.
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
After 6 million years, the Colorado River no longer flows to the sea
Dams, irrigation and now climate change have drastically reduced
the once-mighty river. Is it a sign of things to come?
By Sarah Zielinski

October 2010 edition — From its source high in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River channels water south nearly 1,500 miles, over falls, through deserts and canyons, to the lush wetlands of a vast delta in Mexico and into the Gulf of California.

That is, it did so for six million years.

Then, beginning in the 1920s, Western states began divvying up the Colorado’s water, building dams and diverting the flow hundreds of miles, to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and other fast-growing cities. The river now serves 30 million people in seven U.S. states and Mexico, with 70 percent or more of its water siphoned off to irrigate 3.5 million acres of cropland.

Read the full story at the Smithsonian, words.

21 September 2010, BONN, GermanyDuring the collision of India with the Eurasian continent, the Indian plate is pushed about 500 kilometers under Tibet, reaching a depth of 250 kilometers. The result of this largest collision in the world is the world's highest mountain range, but the tsunami in the Indian Ocean from 2004 was also created by earthquakes generated by this collision.

The clash of the two continents is very complex, the Indian plate, for example, is compressed where it collides with the very rigid plate of the Tarim Basin at the north-western edge of Tibet. On the eastern edge of Tibet, the Wenchuan earthquake in May 2008 claimed over 70,000 deaths.

Scientists at the GFZ German Research Center or Geosciences report in the latest issue of the scientific journal "Science" (vol. 329, Sept. 17, 2010) on the results of a new seismic method which was used to investigate the collision process.Read the full story at, 329 words.
University of Texas at Austin
15 September 2010, AUSTIN, Texas Many women with low sex drives reported greater sexual satisfaction after taking a placebo, according to new psychology research from The University of Texas at Austin and Baylor College of Medicine.
The study was conducted by Cindy Meston, a clinical psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin, and Andrea Bradford, a 2009 University of Texas at Austin graduate and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. They found that opening a new line of communication about sex can have a positive effect in many women with low libidos.

The researchers examined data from a previous clinical trial that followed 200 women over a 12-week period. Fifty of those women, ages 35-55, were randomly chosen to receive a placebo instead of a drug treatment for low sexual arousal.

— Read the full article at the University of Texas, Austin's website, 351 words.
From the Desk of Mike (the Hammer) Garvin
By Paul Haven
The Associated Press
24 September 2010 — Cuba's communist leaders began laying out the details of their drive to create more free enterprise on the island on Friday, mapping out a brave new world of bosses and employees, personal accountants and a dizzying number of small-time businesses.

The plans — laid out in a three-page spread in the Communist Party-daily Granma — follow last week's announcement that the government will lay off 500,000 workers by the end of March, the biggest change in this country's economic system since the early 1990s.

For the first time, Cubans in 83 private activities will be allowed to employ people other than their relatives. The Central Bank is even studying ways to get small loans into the hands of the country's new entrepreneurs, according to the newspaper, which cited Economy Minister Marino Murillo Jorge and a vice-minister of labor and social security, Admi Valhuerdi Cepero.

— Read the full article at, 818 words.
By Andy Barrie
The Canadian Journalism Project

21 September 2010 I'm not sure Peter Gzowski ever interviewed Joan Rivers; I somehow doubt it. Her brand of sexual candor and his discomfort with same would have seen the pitch strike out in a second. But the arrival of a documentary about her and a biography about him suggests that, in private at least, they might have reached a real understanding. In common, their careers required them to play the most difficult part of all: themselves. Rivers' greatest disappointment, she tells us at the end of the film, is that she's never been given the credit she feels she deserves for her acting ability. This might come as a shock to those who saw her as stand-up comedian, while she clearly saw herself as an actress: a hardworking, disciplined performer named Joan Rivers, who  built a career playing the part of a self-absorbed, hyper-critical and frequently foul-mouthed harridan of the same name. Read the full article at J-Source, 769 words.
Reality Check
As goes the world of sports, so goes the world
'When the public water supply of Bolivia's second city, Cochabamba, was sold off to a foreign consortium, rainwater was included. The clouds became the property of multinationals - until the people fought back, and won.'
By John Pilger

21 September 2010 The year before England won the 1966 World Cup, I interviewed its captain, Bobby Moore. Having not long arrived from the antipodes, where "soccer" was a minority sport beloved by Italians and Croats, I did not have a clue about the game. Nevertheless I had been assigned to write a "human interest" piece on the West Ham star by the same convivial assistant editor who had hired me believing I could play cricket, because I was Australian, and so assist the Daily Mirror team in its grudge match against the Express. I could swim and row and had done time in a rugby scrum, but cricket, no. (He forgave me).

I met Moore outside West Ham tube station, and we walked round the corner to a greasy spoon that was filled with Woodbine fug. People beamed and shook his hand, reinforcing my impression of a gracious, modest man. Here was a star in every sense - talent, looks, fame - and yet he seemed genuinely surprised by the fuss. In the queue for tea and coffee, he patiently engaged an elderly fan who was hard of hearing. When I unwisely feigned knowledge of the game, he let me down gently. As we parted, he said, "Look, this is a bit embarrassing, but I've got this agent and he's asked me to ask for 50 quid for the interview." I said I would pass it on to my editor; I don't know if he was paid, and I doubt if he cared. Read the full story inside, 990 words.

In case you missed it ...

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.