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The Thursday wrap

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden is on tour again. Call it the Gaffe Across Europe Tour 2013. In England on Tuesday, Mr. Biden said he's been on the U.S. National Security Council for “half my life.” Thirty-five years? He also spoke of the “open relationship” that the U.S. and the U.K. have. Guess both parties are free to date others. The veep, never hesitant to speak, also referred to Portugal as Poland and mixed up the names of former Sens. Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar. Perhaps he'll yet again urge a paralyzed man to stand up. ... Toledo, Ohio, Block Bugler ambassadorialist Dan Simpson bemoans the fact that “We are not a democracy. ... American government is not democratic. ... Please don't tell me that we have a democracy.” OK, Dan, we don't have a democracy, we never have nor should we ever have a democracy. Mr. Simpson must have missed all those grammar school lessons in the dangers of the kind of pure democracy he promotes and that America was founded as (and remains) a republic. One would expect better from a former U.S. ambassador. ... A funny thing happened on the way to the “demise” of the polar bear. For years, climate cluckers have been sounding the death knell for the bears and won “endangered species” status for them. But writer Zac Unger concludes that more polar bears are alive today than 40 years ago. And this from a guy who previously was convinced that “man-made global warming” was leading to polar bear extinction. Throw another log on the fire, honey; it's cold outside.

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