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Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A British sociology lecturer is accusing the hosts of the BBC's “Gardeners' Question Time” of spreading racist and fascist messages. Such as? Ben Pitcher says talk of “soil purity” is code for racial purity, the Daily Mail reports. He also claims using the word “invasive” to describe non-native plant species is code for dissing foreigners. A guest even linked talk of problems with rhododendrons to being anti-Pakistani. The critics appeared on another BBC program, “Thinking Allowed.” They might want to try it sometime. ... A Texas A&M study has concluded that the $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program in 2009 ended up costing automakers between $2.6 billion and $4 billion in lost sales. That's because those who did purchase new vehicles spent between $2,500 and $3,000 less than others who bought new vehicles but were not eligible for the program. As The Wall Street Journal notes, “The basic economic illogic of Cash for Clunkers is that you can't create wealth by destroying serviceable assets and then force-feeding consumer spending on replacements.” Economics 101 forever will be a cipher for “progressives.” ... Fast on the heels of the announcement of higher fees for the flying public, supposedly in the name of enhanced security, comes word that the Department of Homeland Security is spending nearly half a million dollars for gym memberships for, among others, Transportation Security Administration desk jockeys in Washington. “Security” manifests itself in odd ways in the nation's capital.

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