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Laurels & Lances

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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

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Laurel: To Rich Fitzgerald & Mark Patrick Flaherty. The Democrats seeking the nomination for Allegheny County chief executive have gone negative with their campaign ads. Among other things, Mr. Fitzgerald attacked Mr. Flaherty for practicing supposedly "Republican" economics while Flaherty attacked Fitzgerald for, among other things, being a spendthrift. At this rate, we'll be publishing the photos of their bodies well before the May 17 primary.

Lance: To the City of Pittsburgh. As had been predicted years ago, the city has returned to systemic deficit budgeting. Controller Michael Lamb says the city spent $12.5 million more than it took in for 2010. That's the first time they've spent more than they've taken in since 2004, not long after the city was placed in state receivership. Which raises anew questions about the quality of the "oversight" by not one but two oversight boards. This bad joke is getting worse -- all around.

Laurel: To the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. If all goes according to plan, four Louisiana pine snake eggs will hatch at the Highland Park facility in about a month, adding four new members to one of the most endangered species of snakes in the United States. It's all part of a plan to restore balance to the ecosystems of Louisiana and Texas. Conservationists that we are, here's to a s-s-s-s-s-successful hatching.

Lance: To state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. The Cranberry Republican wants to codify discrimination by amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to deny legal "marriage" to same-sex couples. And the proposed wording of his amendment goes a step further, appearing to not even recognize any other "legal union." But constitutions are not for denying rights; they're for enumerating them. This is poor form, the antithesis of liberty, and the effort should be rejected.

Laurel: To public gardens. Today is National Public Gardens Day. Greater Pittsburgh has four of them, including the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and the Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden. It's hard to imagine the city without them (and the Chatham Arboretum and another arboretum at California University of Pennsylvania). These indeed are assets in which we should all revel.

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