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The New Year's wrap

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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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'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.

By Pittsburgh The Tribune-Review
Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011

The New York Times is shilling for a "living wage" bill that would compel private developers who receive $1 million or more in taxpayer subsidies to pay, for a decade, $10 an hour plus benefits for full-time workers and $11.50 an hour for those without benefits. Here's a better idea — stop subsidizing private developers with public dollars. ... More bad news for the crowd that believes government should determine what light bulbs you can buy. London's Daily Mail reports that when compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) can no longer produce light, "the electronics in the base will still try to function, sometimes leading to overheating, smoke and fire." How comforting. ... The average cost to attend a public university in the United States rose by 8.3 percent in 2011 and by an astounding 72 percent over the last decade, reports The Washington Times. And it notes that part of the problem might just be the fact that some instructors earning an average of $70,000 annually teach only one or two classes per semester. Gee, ya think • ... Former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, Confused, Pa., expresses shock — shock, we say — in his new book that Democrats stripped him of his seniority when he switched parties in an attempt to keep his job. Arlen, Arlen, Arlen. You better than most should know that those who live by the political machination usually die by the political machination.

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